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Congressman Dan Kildee Introduces Bill to Set Drinking Water Standard for PFAS Chemicals

April 30, 2019
Press Release

Bipartisan Bill Would Require EPA to Protect Americans from PFAS in Drinking Water

Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus and Co-Chair of the PFAS Task Force, introduced bipartisan legislation that would require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set an enforceable, nationwide drinking water standard for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The Protect Drinking Water from PFAS Act would require the EPA to set a drinking water standard within two years by mandating a safe level of PFAS in drinking water. Currently, the EPA only has voluntary advisory guidelines for two types of PFAS chemicals, PFOA and PFOS.

The bill is also sponsored by Congressman Brendan Boyle (PA-02), Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (NJ-06), Subcommittee on Environment Chairman Paul Tonko (NY-21) and Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01).

“President Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency is entrusted with keeping our drinking water safe but has delayed protecting our families from toxic PFAS chemicals in drinking water. This is unacceptable. We know that PFAS chemicals are harmful to human health and families deserve safe water from their taps,” said Congressman Kildee. “I am proud to stand with my colleagues today to protect drinking water in Michigan and at the thousands of sites across the country impacted by PFAS.”

“It is past time we address these contaminants with the seriousness they merit,” said Congressman Boyle. “Public health is at stake while the EPA continues to dither and delay setting enforceable limits on these chemicals. This is unacceptable. The more we look, the more contamination we find. The more we wait, the more we learn about the seriousness of these contaminants. No American should question the safety of their drinking water – period. We must address these contaminants with the full force of the Safe Drinking Water Act.”

“PFAS contamination is one of the greatest public health crises of our time. This bill directs EPA to at long last take that crisis seriously, and set a strong, binding nationwide drinking water standard,” said Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr, Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee. “I’m proud to co-sponsor this important legislation, and I thank Congressman Boyle for his leadership and hard work in getting this done. Americans deserve to know their drinking water is safe.”

“PFAS chemical contamination is a public health crisis and the EPA must act with an urgency that matches the scale of the problem,” said Congressman Fitzpatrick. “If the EPA won’t act, then Congress must take action to protect American communities from these dangerous chemicals. Since we’ve first became aware of this contamination, my constituents have been forced to take drastic action, at personal expense, to reduce their exposure to PFOS and PFOA. Establishing a Maximum Contaminant level will force those responsible for this crisis to clean up toxic sites and ensure drinking water isn’t contaminated with PFAS chemicals.”

For decades, toxic PFAS chemicals have been used in manufacturing, consumer products and firefighting foam and have been found to be dangerous to humans. These chemicals have been used around many military bases and industrial sites, including the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda, Michigan, where PFAS has leached into groundwater and local-area wells used for drinking water.

Congressman Kildee has worked with Republicans and Democrats at all levels of government to address PFAS contamination. Congressman Kildee introduced legislation to ensure that veterans and their families exposed to toxic PFAS chemicals at military installations get the health care services and benefits they need through the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA). Kildee has also introduced legislation to speed up clean-up efforts and detect PFAS contamination at other sites across the country. Additionally, working with Michigan’s U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, Congressman Kildee included language authorizing a health study on PFAS exposure in the National Defense Authorization Act, which became law in December 2017.